SMOOTH TALK (1985)

Directed by: Joyce Chopra 

Written By: Tom Cole

Based on the short story “Where are you going, Where have you been” By: Joyce Carol Oates 

Cinematography: James Glennon 

Editor: Patrick Dodd 

Cast: Laura Dern, Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place, Levon Helm, Elizabeth Berridge, Margaret Welsh, William Ragsdale 

A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.


Most of the movie is built up around the third act or really a scene. The lead up to it that helps bail itself out. Though it seems the filmmakers used the scene to help fill in the blanks as far as characters.

I remember seeing the poster for this movie in video stores in my youth. Never knew what it was about and also got it confused with a few films Laura Dern was in including SMOOTH OPERATOR and BLUE VELVET. As at the time it seemed like she was always playing the same types of roles. Only wish I knew about this film early before. As it probably would have enjoyed it more and been a nostalgic classic for me. 

As the film seems more to lead up to the finale. That doesn’t exactly match the rest of the film. As before it the film More wanders and stays with the main character. Where it seems like a modern-day teen’s life more coming of age in the times of mall culture. 

That is what the final scene is based on the short story by Joyce Carol Oates and the rest of the film built around it. Using little details to fill in the character and actions that lead to the final situation. 

As this offers a smaller Realistic look at female teen sexuality and how it affects others and a coming of age story that doesn’t have a sunny and rosy outlook.

He wants her to give herself to him but Is not above taking it by Force. As he is all Machismo and Tries to be charming and poetic but is full-on sleazy, Creepy predator trying to intimidate her. 

Has it’s 1980’s music cue moments of accompaniment that feels more of the time but laughable now and almost takes you out of the dynamics. 

A teen film whose appeal seems more aimed at adults. While the main character deals with shifting friendships as one friend who is more innocent fades into the background who doesn’t Want to join in on her adventures and her other friend who does and she gets closer. As another friend is also more aggressive and wild.

Her different difficulties with family and friends, her hostile mother, and her constant war. A father who is barely there and an older sister who has moved back home. 

The third act becomes very theatrical like a stage show almost. A dance that each character do around each other. Wanting different things but in a rhythm with one another. He seems like the big bad wolf. Hinted at earlier in the movie but then he makes his way to her and then the film

Becomes tension-filled. As he seems determined to take her innocence that she has been flirting with losing lately.

The film doesn’t offer any answers and leaves the ending to be ambiguous. Where we wonder so many things like. Where did he come from? Was any of this real? If so did she bring this on to herself because of her behavior? Did she attract this trouble? Was it a worst-case scenario? Is this a kind of punishment or as she says she doesn’t Know. Was this a warning as to what could happen?

As the film tries to depict a teen’s life on the brink of adulthood. Who makes decisions that affect her and her life growing up too fast. This was why in the end she resorts to old routines and memories wanting to bathe into them and be around family as their problems seem to disappear. We are not sure what happened but it is suggested 

Grade: B

EVERYTHING MUST GO (2010)

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Written & Directed By: Dan Rush
Based on the Short Story “Why Don’t You Dance” By: Raymond Carver
Cinematography By: Michael Barrett
Editor: Sandra Adair 


Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher C.J. Wallace, Laura Dern, Michael Pena, Stephen Root, Glenn Howerton

After Nick is fired from his sales job, mostly because of his penchant for alcohol, he comes home and finds that his wife has kicked him and all of his stuff out of the house and onto the front lawn. He is pretty intent on just sitting in his chair, drinking beer, on the lawn. His cop friend, Frank Garcia, thinks he should at least pretend to have a yard sale to make it legal. He slowly starts making friends with a neighborhood kid who needs something to do, and a pregnant wife who has just moved in across the street, and Nick finds himself moving on and selling all his stuff.

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LADIES AND GENTELMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS (1982)

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Directed By: Lou Adler
Written By: Nancy Dowd  (Credited As: Robert Morton)
Cinematography By: Bruce Surtees
Editor: Tom Benko

Cast: Diane Lane, Laura Dern, Ray Winstone, Christine Lahti, Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Peter Donat, David Clennon, Brent Spiner, Debbie Rochon

The media and disaffected teens mistake the acerbic rants of an obnoxious teenage punk rocker as a rallying cry for the women of America, launching her and her talentless group to national stardom.

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MARRIAGE STORY (2019)

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Written & Directed By: Noah Baumbach
Cinematography: Robbie Ryan
Editor: Jennifer Lame 

Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johannson, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, Julie Hagerty, Wallace Shawn, Merrit Wever, Mickey Sumner, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Irene Choi, Robert Smigel, Carlos Jacott, Lucas Neff 

An incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

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COLD PURSUIT (2019)

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Directed By: Hans Petter Moland
Written By: Frank Baldwin
Based On The Film KRAFTIDIOTEN Screenplay By: Kim Fupz Aakeson
Cinematography: Philip Ogaard
Editor: Nicolaj Monberg 


Cast: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, William Forsythe, Tom Bateman, Emmy Rossum, Domenick Lombardozzi, John Doman, Michael Eklund, Julia Jones, Elizabeth Thai 


A grieving snowplow driver seeks out revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.

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CERTAIN WOMEN (2016)

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Written, Edited & Directed By: Kelly Reichardt
Based on Stories By: Malie Meloy
Cinematography By: Christopher Blauvelt 


Cast: Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, James LeGros, Lily Gladstone, Kristen Stewart, Jared Harris, John Getz, Rene Auberjonois, Ashlie Atkinson 


 Certain Women drops us into a handful of intersecting lives across Montana. A lawyer tries to defuse a hostage situation and calm her disgruntled client, who feels slighted by a workers’ compensation settlement. A married couple breaks ground on a new home but exposes marital fissures when they try to persuade an elderly man to sell his stockpile of sandstone. A ranch hand forms an attachment to a young lawyer, who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home.

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WILSON (2017)

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Directed By: Craig Johnson
Written By: Daniel Clowes (Based on His Graphic Novel)
Cinematography By: Frederick Elmes
Editor: Paul Zucker
Music By: Jon Brion 


Cast: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Jusy Greer, Margo Martindale, David Warshofsky, Cheryl Hines, Brett Gelman 


A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.

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WILD (2014)

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Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallee
Written By: Nick Hornby
Based on the memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” By: Cheryl Strayed Cinematography By: Yves Belanger 

Editor: John Mac McMurphy (Jean-Marc Vallee) & Martin Pensa 


Cast: Resse Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin, Brian Van Holt, Cliff De Young

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99 HOMES (2015)

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Edited & Directed By: Ramin Bahrini
Written By: Ramin Bahrini & Amir Naderi
Story By: Ramin Bahrini & Bahareh Azimi
Cinematography By: Bobby Bukowski 

Cast: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee, Clancy Brown

A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration. The film is based on a real life father who exposed a corrupted real estate agent.

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